De stichting Hester zet zich in voor het bestrijden van geweld tegen vrouwen in (vooral) de Mexicaanse stad Ciudad Juárez, waar in 1998 Hester van Nierop werd vermoord. Ze steunt daarbij o.a. het werk van de plaatselijke organisatie Casa Amiga.
THE CONTEXT OF CIUDAD JUAREZ
The Mexico-USA border has always been a scene of violence involving migrant workers, organized crime, drug cartels, prostitution, and contraband. Ciudad Juárez is regarded as an “open door” city to employment prospects and life improvement due to the establishment of the factory (assembly plant) industry. At the same time it is an “open door” to illegal immigration and drug trafficking. With this constant flux of people, the identity and the character of the city have been altered: the growing population has not been accompanied by the creation of infrastructure and basic services such as housing, sanitation, health and education. Indeed, the economic growth created by the factory industry has been unable to reimburse the city for a satisfactory grade of development in the area.
Together with the industrial parks came the proliferation of poor neighborhoods, and an increase in the socio-economic inequalities among the population. In Juárez marked differences exist between social classes, with a minority of wealthy and powerful families and other sectors of the population, especially in the city’s western district living in extreme poverty. The overall situation has led to an increase in insecurity and criminal behaviors, including organized crime, drug trafficking, money-laundering, women trafficking, undocumented migration, pornography, and the exploitation of prostitutes. All these peculiarities certainly amount to making this city more prone to the continuum of violence against women than any other cities in Mexico.
In 1965, the establishment of the factory industry created factory jobs mainly for women in the city. This situation changed the traditional dynamics of relations between women and men. Many women developed their own activities in the public sphere – working outside the home in the factory enjoying economic independence. However, this transformation of women’s roles has not been accompanied by a change in the functioning of political and economic structures, let alone the conjunction of patriarchal legacies. As a result, women who transgress their cultural prescribed roles established in the private sphere are subsequently blamed for the violence they suffer. And importantly, this idea and practice have been implicitly endorsed and fully institutionalized by the State in order to avoid its responsibilities for the crimes.